I contacted Chris Charters last Wednesday and set up an outing for Spring Song on the holiday Monday, August 4. His trailer has three box stalls. Zelador was loaded first and placed to the right, in the stall closest to the front. Spring Song watched Zelador walk on and happily stepped up onto the ramp when I asked her to. THEN Zelador started piaffing and complaining in the trailer. That brought Spring Song to an abrupt halt. She stood there, puzzled and Zelador continued to tromp around. I backed Spring Song off the ramp and approached again. Zelador’s timing was, again, perfect! Spring Song stopped. I began to wonder if a little jealousy was creeping into the scenario. On the third approach to the ramp Spring Song loaded like a pro. She walked quietly, never hesitating, to the rear stall and stood calmly while her door was closed. Zeloso loaded beautifully.
Chris wanted to keep the top of the ramp “door” open so he asked if he could tie Zeloso in the trailer so that he wouldn’t put his head out the long opening. I explained that Zeloso had succeeded in breaking every cross tie he’d ever met in his early years. I added, “The top was open when the boys took their three hour trip east when they were four years old. They loved watching the traffic.” Chris left Zeloso free.
Spring Song was calm and polite. Zelador was much happier with his brother on board!
We arrived at Westhaven Farm owned by the Torokvei family. We babysat one of their horses, Marcus, when he was one year old. Turns out he celebrated his fourth birthday a few days ago. We have another animal connection with the Torokveis. They have a litter mate brother of our Vizsla, Trooper. Stanley is gorgeous, loving, fun, goofy, runs and runs and RUNS, then collapses into a deep sleep.
Marcus was at the farm and happy to see us. Stanley was up north enjoying the cottage life.
We placed Spring Song in a stall and she settled in nicely. The boys went in a round pen just outside the barn entrance. At the last minute when we were preparing to leave Winsong Farm I asked Ron to fetch the blue tarp while I rounded up four orange cones. We placed these in the Westhaven arena, then fetched Spring Song. The barn was busy with horses in many of the stalls and people coming and going. Two ladies were tacking up for a hack. I was very pleased with all this activity. Spring Song needed to see other happy horses at a different location.
In the arena Ron, Bill and I took turns leading Spring Song over the tarp, around the cones and over some of the jump poles. The apparatus helped all of us focus. Spring Song was familiar with them and understood her job.
We tacked her up in the arena and I’m guessing this is the first time a western saddle has been at Westhaven! She also wore the Bitless Bridle (guessing that’s another first). I walked her around and played with the toys. She was able to focus and listen.
We took her back to the stall and tacked up the boys in the round pen. When we walked past Spring Song she was contented and really not concerned about us or the boys. After riding Zelador for ten minutes I let Ron get on him. I went with Asta Torokvei to meet her horses, then fetched Spring Song and returned her to the arena. I called to Asta to see Spring Song’s Spanish Walk. Asta brought a lady with her to the arena. I can tell you one thing: no matter where we are or what is going on Spring Song will perform a smashing Spanish Walk! She loved showing off. The two women were appropriately impressed. The other lady noticed the tarp and asked if the three year old filly could walk over it. Spring Song walked over the tarp.
We loaded the three in the same order into the same locations. No problems. Asta invited us back to show more new things to the filly. She mentioned a Liverpool. Should be FUN!
Spring Song started her day with me at 9:30 when I fetched her from the paddock. We returned her to it at 3:00.
Today the filly was a STAR!!!! I set up the two big pylons. I placed a large Canadian flag which is attached to a pole in one of the pylons. The other pylon was for me to rope. I put two smaller Canadian flags on each side of the bridge. With the arena windows open the flags fluttered sporadically. I placed some of the Cowboy Dressage poles on the ground. I draped the six foot long, stuffed, multi-coloured caterpillar over the half door so I could fetch it from the saddle. I played with the apparatus, then spotted Donny Maida and asked if he’d bring Dominique, his wife, into the arena to see what we were doing. I did this to put some pressure on myself. It’s one thing to play around with no one watching, it’s quite something else to “perform”.
I know Dominique is busy so I said, “Donny, tell her this will only take three minutes.” Turns out Dominique was not experiencing a time crunch which was a good thing because when I picked up the lariat it took about four minutes to untangle the thing! I roped from Spring Song’s back and successfully “caught” the pylon on the first toss. Spring Song will need to pull and drag an object so we did just that. For the pulling she is facing the thing. For the drag the object is behind her.
I trotted her around the arena going over all of the poles. I fetched the long caterpillar, picked up the flag, then trotted over all the poles again. My reins were in one hand and she was calm and attentive. I asked Donny to set up the gate and we opened and closed it twice. Spring Song was fluid, never stopping, always moving that inch or two that I asked for so that I could hold the gate in my right hand and never be pulled out of balance.
Donny and Dominique were impressed! Yippee!!!!
My plan is to ship her once a week to a new site. I have a list of eight nearby arenas that just might be happy to help us out. In two weekends (August 16 and 17) we have the Working Equitation Clinic here. There will be auditors, the P.A. system making noise, horses coming and going. Can’t wait!!!!